Corporal Punishment

August 9, 2007

Edward’s fist met its target with the sound of thunder, and sent Jon sliding senseless across the dusty lot.

“What the hell, Ed?” came his supervisor’s shout from five yards away – Ed was already walking away, knowing it was another job lost. But that was fine – he’d given Jon plenty of warnings, but he wouldn’t fix what he said, so he got what was coming to him.

See, Ed considered himself the champion of the English language.

It was a strange thing to have appointed himself, since had never been a real scholar of words – dropped out of high school at sixteen, and hadn’t read a book in seven years. But he was a great believer in what language out to be, and though he might have trouble expressing that sentiment, he still felt it was his duty to uphold it.

See, he believed language was primarily there for communication, and that people should say things clearly, and with meaning. And when that meaning wasn’t there… well, it bothered him.

Sayings were the worst of it. Nonsense phrases passed down from one generation to the next, now recited without any real concept of what the saying meant. I mean, “the proof is in the pudding?” Who are you trying to kid – to Ed, it was gibberish, and no more than the barking of trained dogs.

No sir, he wouldn’t have it – but not being much of an instructor, his only recourse was to deliver a lesson in pain to those who ignored his warnings and uttered one of the phrases that brought out his rage.

It didn’t make him a popular fellow, and it is hard to say whether it had any real effect the way people spoke.

But Ed had a job to do, and by Hell or high water, he was going to do it.

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